Warren Buffett's Letters
To Berkshire Shareholders 1981

巴菲特致股東函
1981年版

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.
Berkshire海瑟崴股份有限公司

February 26, 1982
1982年2月26日

To the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.:

致Berkshire公司全體股東:

Operating earnings of $39.7 million in 1981 amounted to 15.2% of
beginning equity capital (valuing securities at cost) compared to 17.8% in
1980. Our new plan that allows stockholders to designate corporate
charitable contributions (detailed later) reduced earnings by about
$900,000 in 1981. This program, which we expect to continue subject to
annual evaluation of our corporate tax position, had not been initiated in
1980.

1981年的營業利益約為3,970萬美元,期初股東權益報酬率(持有股權投資以原始成
本計)從去年的17.8%滑落至15.2%。我們的新計劃是讓所有股東皆能指定捐贈的慈
善機構,(詳如後述) ,這使得當年度盈餘減少90萬美元,往後將視我們公司所得稅
負狀況決定捐贈的金額。

Non-Controlled Ownership Earnings

無控制權持股之盈餘

In the 1980 annual report we discussed extensively the concept of
non-controlled ownership earnings, i.e., Berkshire’s share of the
undistributed earnings of companies we don’t control or significantly
influence but in which we, nevertheless, have important investments. (We
will be glad to make available to new or prospective shareholders copies of
that discussion or others from earlier reports to which we refer in this
report.) No portion of those undistributed earnings is included in the
operating earnings of Berkshire.

去年我們曾詳細地討論無控制權持股盈餘的觀念,亦即那些我們無法控制或影響其盈
餘分配的一些重要的被投資公司(我們很樂意與新股東或潛在股東討論這項話題),而
這部份的盈餘卻又完全未顯現在Berkshire的帳面之上。

However, our belief is that, in aggregate, those undistributed and,
therefore, unrecorded earnings will be translated into tangible value for
Berkshire shareholders just as surely as if subsidiaries we control had
earned, retained - and reported - similar earnings.

然而,我們深信這些未分配且未被記錄的盈餘,仍將終與那些我們控制的公司所賺的
盈餘一樣轉化成Berkshire實質的價值。

We know that this translation of non-controlled ownership earnings
into corresponding realized and unrealized capital gains for Berkshire will
be extremely irregular as to time of occurrence. While market values track
business values quite well over long periods, in any given year the
relationship can gyrate capriciously. Market recognition of retained
earnings also will be unevenly realized among companies. It will be
disappointingly low or negative in cases where earnings are employed
non-productively, and far greater than dollar-for-dollar of retained
earnings in cases of companies that achieve high returns with their
augmented capital. Overall, if a group of non-controlled companies is
selected with reasonable skill, the group result should be quite satisfactory.

雖然我們明瞭這些不具控制權的盈餘轉化為Berkshire已實現或未實現利得的時間點
很難拿捏,但就長期而言,市場價格或許變動不一,卻終將會與企業價值同步發展,
甚至不同的公司也會有不同的情況,一家將盈餘運用得當與運用不當的公司,也會有
不一樣的結局,總而言之,只要經過合理的挑選,一群不具控制權的投資也會產生令
人意想不到的效果。

In aggregate, our non-controlled business interests have more
favorable underlying economic characteristics than our controlled
businesses. That’s understandable; the area of choice has been far wider.
Small portions of exceptionally good businesses are usually available in the
securities markets at reasonable prices. But such businesses are available
for purchase in their entirety only rarely, and then almost always at high
prices.

就整體而言,我們這些不具控制權的被投資公司,其企業競爭力反而比那些具控制權
的公司來得佳,可能的原因是因為在股票市場上我們可以合理的價格買到部份優秀企
業的股權,而若要透過購併談判的方式買下整家公司,其平均價格可能遠高於市價。

General Acquisition Behavior

企業購併行為常態

As our history indicates, we are comfortable both with total ownership
of businesses and with marketable securities representing small portions of
businesses. We continually look for ways to employ large sums in each
area. (But we try to avoid small commitments - “If something’s not worth
doing at all, it’s not worth doing well”.) Indeed, the liquidity requirements of
our insurance and trading stamp businesses mandate major investments in
marketable securities.

經驗顯示,我們對於擁有整家公司或僅持有部份股權,並無特殊偏好,目前我們仍持
續投資大筆資金在兩者之上(我們儘量避免小額投資,因為一件事若一點也不值得去
作,那麼就算把它作得再好也沒有用),而事實上,由於經營保險公司與禮券事業都必
須保持適當的流動性,所以我們本來就必須將資金大量投入於有價證券。

Our acquisition decisions will be aimed at maximizing real economic
benefits, not at maximizing either managerial domain or reported numbers
for accounting purposes. (In the long run, managements stressing
accounting appearance over economic substance usually achieve little of
either.)

我們購併的決策著重於讓實質的經濟利益而非企業版圖或會計數字極大化,(就長期而
言,若管理當局過度注重會計數字而忽略經濟實質的話,最後通常兩者都顧不好)。

Regardless of the impact upon immediately reportable earnings, we
would rather buy 10% of Wonderful Business T at X per share than 100% of
T at 2X per share. Most corporate managers prefer just the reverse, and
have no shortage of stated rationales for their behavior.

不管對短期的帳面盈餘有何影響,我們寧願以X 價格買下一家好公司10%的股權,也
不要以2X 價格買下這家好公司100%的股權,但大部份公司經營階層的選擇剛好相
反,而且對這樣的行為總是能找到藉口。

However, we suspect three motivations - usually unspoken - to be,
singly or in combination, the important ones in most high-premium
takeovers:

對於這樣的行為,我們可以歸納出三大動機(通常是心照不宣):

(1) Leaders, business or otherwise, seldom are deficient in animal
spirits and often relish increased activity and challenge. At Berkshire, the
corporate pulse never beats faster than when an acquisition is in prospect.

(1)領導階層幾乎很少人是缺乏動物天性的,且時時散發出過動與戰鬥的意念。相對地
在Berkshire,即使是購併成功在望,其管理當局的心跳也不會加快一下。


(2) Most organizations, business or otherwise, measure themselves,
are measured by others, and compensate their managers far more by the
yardstick of size than by any other yardstick. (Ask a Fortune 500 manager
where his corporation stands on that famous list and, invariably, the
number responded will be from the list ranked by size of sales; he may well
not even know where his corporation places on the list Fortune just as
faithfully compiles ranking the same 500 corporations by profitability.)

(2)大部份的公司及其經營階層,多以「規模」而非「獲利」,作為衡量自己或他人的
標準(問問那些名列Fortune 500 大企業的負責人,他們可能從來都不知道自己的公
司若以獲利能力來排的話,會落在第幾位)


(3) Many managements apparently were overexposed in
impressionable childhood years to the story in which the imprisoned
handsome prince is released from a toad’s body by a kiss from a beautiful
princess. Consequently, they are certain their managerial kiss will do
wonders for the profitability of Company T(arget).

(3)許多經營階層很明顯地過度沉浸於小時候所聽到的,一個變成蟾蜍的王子因美麗的
公主深深一吻而獲救的童話故事,而一廂情願地認為只要被他們優異的管理能力一
吻,被購併的公司便能脫胎換骨。


Such optimism is essential. Absent that rosy view, why else
should the shareholders of Company A(cquisitor) want to own an interest in
T at the 2X takeover cost rather than at the X market price they would pay if
they made direct purchases on their own?

如此樂觀的態度確有其必要,否則公司的股東怎麼會甘願以二倍的價錢買下這家公
司,而不是用一倍的價格自己從市場上買進。

In other words, investors can always buy toads at the going
price for toads. If investors instead bankroll princesses who wish to pay
double for the right to kiss the toad, those kisses had better pack some real
dynamite. We’ve observed many kisses but very few miracles.
Nevertheless, many managerial princesses remain serenely confident about
the future potency of their kisses - even after their corporate backyards are
knee-deep in unresponsive toads.

換言之,投資人永遠可以以蟾蜍的價格買到蟾蜍,但若投資人願意用雙倍的代價資助
公主去親吻蟾蜍的話,最好保佑奇蹟會發生,許多公主依然堅信她們的吻有使蟾蜍變
成王子的魔力,即使在她的後院早已養滿了一大堆的蟾蜍。


In fairness, we should acknowledge that some acquisition records have
been dazzling. Two major categories stand out.

儘管如此,平心而論仍然有兩種情況的購併是會成功的:


The first involves companies that, through design or accident, have
purchased only businesses that are particularly well adapted to an
inflationary environment. Such favored business must have two
characteristics: (1) an ability to increase prices rather easily (even when
product demand is flat and capacity is not fully utilized) without fear of
significant loss of either market share or unit volume, and (2) an ability to
accommodate large dollar volume increases in business (often produced
more by inflation than by real growth) with only minor additional
investment of capital. Managers of ordinary ability, focusing solely on
acquisition possibilities meeting these tests, have achieved excellent results
in recent decades. However, very few enterprises possess both
characteristics, and competition to buy those that do has now become
fierce to the point of being self-defeating.

第一類是你買到的(不管是有意或無意的)是那種特別能夠適應通貨膨脹的公司,通常
它們又具備了兩種特徵,一是很容易去調漲價格 (即使是當產品需求平緩而產能未充
份利用也一樣)且不怕會失去市場佔有率或銷售量;一是只要增加額外少量的資本支
出,便可以使營業額大幅增加(雖然增加的原因大部份是因為通貨膨脹而非實際增加產
出的緣故),近十幾年來,只要符合以上兩種條件,雖然這種情況不多,即使是能力普
通的經理人也能使這樣的購併案圓滿成功。


The second category involves the managerial superstars - men who
can recognize that rare prince who is disguised as a toad, and who have
managerial abilities that enable them to peel away the disguise. We salute
such managers as Ben Heineman at Northwest Industries, Henry Singleton
at Teledyne, Erwin Zaban at National Service Industries, and especially Tom
Murphy at Capital Cities Communications (a real managerial “twofer”, whose
acquisition efforts have been properly focused in Category 1 and whose
operating talents also make him a leader of Category 2). From both direct
and vicarious experience, we recognize the difficulty and rarity of these
executives’ achievements. (So do they; these champs have made very few
deals in recent years, and often have found repurchase of their own shares
to be the most sensible employment of corporate capital.)

(2)第二類是那些經營奇才,他們具有洞悉少數裹著蟾蜍外衣的王子,並且有能力讓它
們脫去偽裝,我們尤其要向Capital City 的Tom Murphy致敬,他是那種能將購併
目標鎖定在第一類的公司,而本身具有的管理長才又使他成為第二類的佼佼者。直接
或間接的經驗使我們深深體認,要達到像他們那樣成就的困難性(當然也因為如此,近
幾年來真正成功的個案並不多,且會發現到頭來利用公司資金買回自家股份是最實在
的方法)。

Your Chairman, unfortunately, does not qualify for Category 2. And,
despite a reasonably good understanding of the economic factors
compelling concentration in Category 1, our actual acquisition activity in
that category has been sporadic and inadequate. Our preaching was better
than our performance. (We neglected the Noah principle: predicting rain
doesn’t count, building arks does.)

而很不幸的,你們的董事長並不屬於第二類的人,且儘管已充份體認到須將重點擺在
第一類的公司,但真正命中的機率卻又少之又少,我們講得比作得好聽(我們忘了諾亞
的叮嚀:能預測什麼時候下大雨沒有用,必須要能建造方舟才算。)

We have tried occasionally to buy toads at bargain prices with results
that have been chronicled in past reports. Clearly our kisses fell flat. We
have done well with a couple of princes - but they were princes when
purchased. At least our kisses didn’t turn them into toads. And, finally,
we have occasionally been quite successful in purchasing fractional
interests in easily-identifiable princes at toad-like prices.

我們曾以划算的價錢買下不少蟾蜍,過去的報告多已提及,很明顯的我們的吻表現平
平,我們也遇到幾個王子級的公司,但是早在我們買下時他們就已是王子了,當然至
少我們的吻沒讓他們變回蟾蜍,而最後我們偶爾也曾成功地以蟾蜍般的價格買到部份
王子級公司的股票。

Berkshire Acquisition Objectives

Berkshire的購併目標

We will continue to seek the acquisition of businesses in their entirety
at prices that will make sense, even should the future of the acquired
enterprise develop much along the lines of its past. We may very well pay
a fairly fancy price for a Category 1 business if we are reasonably confident
of what we are getting. But we will not normally pay a lot in any purchase
for what we are supposed to bring to the party - for we find that we
ordinarily don’t bring a lot.

我們將持續以合理的價錢買下整家公司,即使那家公司未來的發展與過去一般;我們
也願意以較高的價錢買下第一類的公司,前提是我們可以合理的相信他們就是那樣的
公司;但我們通常不會去買那些我們必須替其作許多改變的公司,因為經驗顯示我們
所作的改變不見得是好的。

During 1981 we came quite close to a major purchase involving both a
business and a manager we liked very much. However, the price finally
demanded, considering alternative uses for the funds involved, would have
left our owners worse off than before the purchase. The empire would
have been larger, but the citizenry would have been poorer.

今年(1981年)我們幾乎談成一筆大買賣,那家公司與其經營階層都是我們所喜愛的,
但就是價錢談不隴,若堅持買下的結果,股東的利益不見得會比買之前更好,整個
Berkshire帝國版圖可能會變的更大,但人民素質反而會變差。

Although we had no success in 1981, from time to time in the future
we will be able to purchase 100% of businesses meeting our standards.
Additionally, we expect an occasional offering of a major “non-voting
partnership” as discussed under the Pinkerton’s heading on page 47 of this
report. We welcome suggestions regarding such companies where we, as a
substantial junior partner, can achieve good economic results while
furthering the long-term objectives of present owners and managers.

儘管1981年我們並沒有成功地談成任何一個個案,但我們預計未來仍能買到100%
符合我們標準的公司,此外我們也期望能有像後面報告所述Pinkerton這樣投資大量
不具投票權股權的例子,在身為次要大股東的我們可獲得可觀的經濟利益的同時,亦
能幫助公司原有的經營階層實現其長期的目標。

Currently, we find values most easily obtained through the
open-market purchase of fractional positions in companies with excellent
business franchises and competent, honest managements. We never
expect to run these companies, but we do expect to profit from them.

我們也發現很容易從市場買到一些由有能力且正直的人所經營的公司股票,而事實上
我們也從未打算自己去經營這些公司,但我們的確想要藉由投資這些公司而獲利。

We expect that undistributed earnings from such companies will
produce full value (subject to tax when realized) for Berkshire and its
shareholders. If they don’t, we have made mistakes as to either: (1) the
management we have elected to join; (2) the future economics of the
business; or (3) the price we have paid.

而我們也預期這些公司的未分配盈餘(在扣除所得稅後)將會100%回餽給Berkshire
及其股東,當然若最後沒有,可能是出了以下幾種差錯(1)我們所選擇的經營階層有問
題(2)公司的前景有問題(3)我們付的價格有問題。

We have made plenty of such mistakes - both in the purchase of
non-controlling and controlling interests in businesses. Category (2)
miscalculations are the most common. Of course, it is necessary to dig
deep into our history to find illustrations of such mistakes - sometimes as
deep as two or three months back. For example, last year your Chairman
volunteered his expert opinion on the rosy future of the aluminum business.
Several minor adjustments to that opinion - now aggregating
approximately 180 degrees - have since been required.

而事實上,我們不論在買進具控制權或不具控制權的股權時,皆曾犯了許多錯誤,其
中以第二類誤判的情況最常見,當然要翻開我們投資的歷史才能找得到這樣的案例(可
能至少要回溯至少二、三個月以上吧…),例如去年本人就曾發表看好鋁業發展的前
景,只是到後來陸續經過些微的調整,最後的結論卻是一百八十度的轉彎。

For personal as well as more objective reasons, however, we generally
have been able to correct such mistakes far more quickly in the case of
non-controlled businesses (marketable securities) than in the case of
controlled subsidiaries. Lack of control, in effect, often has turned out to
be an economic plus.

然而基於個人與客觀的理由,通常我們在改正對不具控制權股票投資的錯誤要比對具
控制權的來得容易許多,這時候缺少控制權,反而成為一種優勢。

As we mentioned last year, the magnitude of our non-recorded
“ownership” earnings has grown to the point where their total is greater
than our reported operating earnings. We expect this situation will
continue. In just four ownership positions in this category - GEICO
Corporation, General Foods Corporation, R. J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. and
The Washington Post Company - our share of undistributed and therefore
unrecorded earnings probably will total well over $35 million in 1982. The
accounting rules that entirely ignore these undistributed earnings diminish
the utility of our annual return on equity calculation, or any other single
year measure of economic performance.

而就像去年我曾提到的,我們在不具控制權的股權投資依投資比例可分得之未分配盈
餘其規模甚至超越我們公司本身的帳面盈餘,且我們預期這種情況將會持續下去,
1982年光是其中四家(GEICO、General Foods、R.J.Reynolds 及華盛頓郵報)加起
來就超過3,500萬美元,由於會計原則規定,使得我們在計算帳面股東權益報酬與單
一年度獲利表現時,無法將這些未分配盈餘記入。

Long-Term Corporate Performance

企業長期績效表現

In measuring long-term economic performance, equities held by our
insurance subsidiaries are valued at market subject to a charge reflecting
the amount of taxes that would have to be paid if unrealized gains were
actually realized. If we are correct in the premise stressed in the preceding
section of this report, our unreported ownership earnings will find their way,
irregularly but inevitably, into our net worth. To date, this has been the
case.

在衡量一家公司長期的績效表現時,我們保險子公司所持有的股票會以市價(扣除預估
應付所得稅),而若我們前面所作的推論正確的話,那些不具控制權的股權其未分配盈
餘,雖然不規則但最後終究會反映在我們公司帳上,至少到目前為止情況確是如此。

An even purer calculation of performance would involve a valuation of
bonds and non-insurance held equities at market. However, GAAP
accounting does not prescribe this procedure, and the added purity would
change results only very slightly. Should any valuation difference widen to
significant proportions, as it has at most major insurance companies, we
will report its effect to you.

當然嚴格來說,還必須把債券投資及非保險子公司所持有的股票以市價計算才更準
確,然而GAAP(一般公認會計原則)並未如此規定,而且這樣做對我們來說其實影響也
不大,當然若其影響大到一定程度,(就像目前很多保險同業便是如此),我一定會向
各位報告。

On a GAAP basis, during the present management’s term of seventeen
years, book value has increased from $19.46 per share to $526.02 per
share, or 21.1% compounded annually. This rate of return number is
highly likely to drift downward in future years. We hope, however, that it
can be maintained significantly above the rate of return achieved by the
average large American corporation.

在GAAP的基礎下,公司的帳面價值,自現有經營階層接手的17年以來,已從19.46
美元增加到如今的526.02美元,年複合成長率約為21.1%,只是這個比率在未來將
會逐年下滑,但我們期望它至少能夠高於一般美國大企業的平均水準。

Over half of the large gain in Berkshire’s net worth during 1981 - it
totaled $124 million, or about 31% - resulted from the market performance
of a single investment, GEICO Corporation. In aggregate, our market gain
from securities during the year considerably outstripped the gain in
underlying business values. Such market variations will not always be on
the pleasant side.

在1981年淨值增加的1億2,000萬美元中,約有一半要歸功於GEICO一家公司,
總的來說,今年我們投資股票市值的增加要比其背後實際代表的實質價值增加數要大
得多,而請注意股票市值的表現不會永遠比實質價值好。

In past reports we have explained how inflation has caused our
apparently satisfactory long-term corporate performance to be illusory as a
measure of true investment results for our owners. We applaud the efforts
of Federal Reserve Chairman Volcker and note the currently more moderate
increases in various price indices. Nevertheless, our views regarding
long-term inflationary trends are as negative as ever. Like virginity, a
stable price level seems capable of maintenance, but not of restoration.

過去我們曾解釋通貨膨脹是如何使我們的帳面表現比經濟實質要好看的多,我們對
Fed(聯邦準備理事會)主席 Volcker先生所作的努力使得現在所有的物價指數能溫和
的成長表示感謝,儘管如此,我們仍對未來的通膨趨勢感到悲觀,就像是童真一樣,
穩定的物價只能維持現狀,卻沒有辦法使其恢復原狀。

Despite the overriding importance of inflation in the investment
equation, we will not punish you further with another full recital of our
views; inflation itself will be punishment enough. (Copies of previous
discussions are available for masochists.) But, because of the unrelenting
destruction of currency values, our corporate efforts will continue to do a
much better job of filling your wallet than of filling your stomach.

儘管通膨對投資來講實在是太重要了,但我不會再折磨你們把我們的觀點在複述一
遍,因為通膨本身對大家的折磨就已足夠了(若誰有被虐狂可向我索取複本) ,但由於
通膨間斷不止的使貨幣貶值,公司只能儘力的使你的皮夾滿滿,更勝於填飽你的肚子。

Equity Value-Added

股權附加價值

An additional factor should further subdue any residual enthusiasm
you may retain regarding our long-term rate of return. The economic case
justifying equity investment is that, in aggregate, additional earnings above
passive investment returns - interest on fixed-income securities - will be
derived through the employment of managerial and entrepreneurial skills in
conjunction with that equity capital. Furthermore, the case says that since
the equity capital position is associated with greater risk than passive forms
of investment, it is “entitled” to higher returns. A “value-added” bonus
from equity capital seems natural and certain.

另外一項因素可能使各位對公司投資報酬率的熱情再澆上一盆冷水,人們之所以要投
資公司股權而非固定收益債券的理由,係在於公司經營階層可運用這筆資金來創造比
固定利息收入更高的盈餘,從而人們才願意承擔萬一發生損失的風險,所以額外的風
險貼水是理所當然的。

But is it? Several decades back, a return on equity of as little as 10%
enabled a corporation to be classified as a “good” business - i.e., one in
which a dollar reinvested in the business logically could be expected to be
valued by the market at more than one hundred cents. For, with long-term
taxable bonds yielding 5% and long-term tax-exempt bonds 3%, a business
operation that could utilize equity capital at 10% clearly was worth some
premium to investors over the equity capital employed. That was true even
though a combination of taxes on dividends and on capital gains would
reduce the 10% earned by the corporation to perhaps 6%-8% in the hands of
the individual investor.

但事實真是如此嗎?? 過去數十年來,一家公司的股東權益報酬率只要超過10%,便可
以被歸類為一家優良企業,所以當我們把一塊錢投入到這家公司,其將來能產生的經
濟效益將會大於一塊錢,(考量到當時長期債券殖利率約為5%,而免稅公債則約3%),
因為即使考量稅負成本,實際到投資人手中仍能有6%-8%。

Investment markets recognized this truth. During that earlier period,
American business earned an average of 11% or so on equity capital
employed and stocks, in aggregate, sold at valuations far above that equity
capital (book value), averaging over 150 cents on the dollar. Most
businesses were “good” businesses because they earned far more than their
keep (the return on long-term passive money). The value-added produced
by equity investment, in aggregate, was substantial.

股票市場認同這種道理,在過去的一段時間,一家股東權益報酬率達到11%的公司,
其市價約可以漲到淨值的1.5倍,他們之所以被認定為好公司的原因在於他們賺取的
盈餘遠多於原先保留下來的部份,這些公司所產生的附加價值相當可觀。

That day is gone. But the lessons learned during its existence are
difficult to discard. While investors and managers must place their feet in
the future, their memories and nervous systems often remain plugged into
the past. It is much easier for investors to utilize historic p/e ratios or for
managers to utilize historic business valuation yardsticks than it is for
either group to rethink their premises daily. When change is slow,
constant rethinking is actually undesirable; it achieves little and slows
response time. But when change is great, yesterday’s assumptions can be
retained only at great cost. And the pace of economic change has become
breathtaking.

然而這一切已成過去,但過去所得到的經驗法則卻很難拋棄,「當投資大眾與經營階
層一腳踏進未來,他們的腦子與神經系統卻還深陷於過去。」投資大眾慣於利用歷史
的本益比而經營階層則習慣用傳統企業評價標準,但卻不去深思其前提是否早已改
變,但現狀的改變極其緩慢,那麼持續不斷地思考便變得相當必要,而一旦變化快速,
則拘泥於昨日的假設將會付出極大的代價,而目前經濟步調的變動速度快到令人窒息。

During the past year, long-term taxable bond yields exceeded 16%
and long-term tax-exempts 14%. The total return achieved from such
tax-exempts, of course, goes directly into the pocket of the individual
owner. Meanwhile, American business is producing earnings of only about
14% on equity. And this 14% will be substantially reduced by taxation
before it can be banked by the individual owner. The extent of such
shrinkage depends upon the dividend policy of the corporation and the tax
rates applicable to the investor.

去年長期債券殖利率超過16%,而免稅公債則約為14%,而這些收入直接落入投資人
的口袋,在此同時,美國企業的股東權益報酬率卻只有14%,而且尚未考量落入投資
人口袋前所須支付的稅負(視被投資公司的股利政策與投資人適用的所得稅率而定)。

Thus, with interest rates on passive investments at late 1981 levels, a
typical American business is no longer worth one hundred cents on the
dollar to owners who are individuals. (If the business is owned by pension
funds or other tax-exempt investors, the arithmetic, although still
unenticing, changes substantially for the better.) Assume an investor in a
50% tax bracket; if our typical company pays out all earnings, the income
return to the investor will be equivalent to that from a 7% tax-exempt bond.
And, if conditions persist - if all earnings are paid out and return on equity
stays at 14% - the 7% tax-exempt equivalent to the higher-bracket
individual investor is just as frozen as is the coupon on a tax-exempt bond.
Such a perpetual 7% tax-exempt bond might be worth fifty cents on the
dollar as this is written.

以1981年的標準而言,投資一家美國公司一塊錢所產生的經濟價值還低於一塊錢,
(當然若投資人是免稅的退休基金或慈善機構,則情況可能會好一點),假設投資人係
適用於50%稅率級距,而公司把所有盈餘皆發放出來,則股東的投資報酬率約略等於
投資7%的免稅債券,而這種情況若一直持續下去,投資人等於是套牢在一堆長期7%
的免稅債券一樣,而它真正的價值可能連其原始投資額的一半還不到。

If, on the other hand, all earnings of our typical American business are
retained and return on equity again remains constant, earnings will grow at
14% per year. If the p/e ratio remains constant, the price of our typical
stock will also grow at 14% per year. But that 14% is not yet in the pocket
of the shareholder. Putting it there will require the payment of a capital
gains tax, presently assessed at a maximum rate of 20%. This net return,
of course, works out to a poorer rate of return than the currently available
passive after-tax rate.

但如果把所有盈餘都保留起來,而報酬率維持不變,則盈餘每年會以14%的速度增加,
又假設本益比不變,則公司的股價每年也會以14%的比例增加,但增加的部份卻不算
是已落入股東的口袋,因為收回去的話需要付最高約20%的資本利得稅,所以不管怎
麼說,還是比最基本的免稅公債14%低。

Unless passive rates fall, companies achieving 14% per year gains in
earnings per share while paying no cash dividend are an economic failure
for their individual shareholders. The returns from passive capital outstrip
the returns from active capital. This is an unpleasant fact for both
investors and corporate managers and, therefore, one they may wish to
ignore. But facts do not cease to exist, either because they are unpleasant
or because they are ignored.

因此除非基本報酬率降低,否則即使公司盈餘每年以14% 成長,對從未能收到半毛
錢股利的投資人而言,等於是一無所獲,這對股東與經營階層都是不怎麼愉快的經驗,
而更是後者希望掩飾過去的,但不論如何,事實就是事實。

Most American businesses pay out a significant portion of their
earnings and thus fall between the two examples. And most American
businesses are currently “bad” businesses economically - producing less for
their individual investors after-tax than the tax-exempt passive rate of
return on money. Of course, some high-return businesses still remain
attractive, even under present conditions. But American equity capital, in
aggregate, produces no value-added for individual investors.

多數的美國公司都把大部份的盈餘分配出去,所以算是介於兩個極端的例子之間,而
大部份美國公司目前的稅後投資報酬率卻都比投資免稅債券還差,當然也有少數例
外,但如今總的來說,美國公司並未為投資人貢獻任何附加的價值。

It should be stressed that this depressing situation does not occur
because corporations are jumping, economically, less high than previously.
In fact, they are jumping somewhat higher: return on equity has improved a
few points in the past decade. But the crossbar of passive return has been
elevated much faster. Unhappily, most companies can do little but hope
that the bar will be lowered significantly; there are few industries in which
the prospects seem bright for substantial gains in return on equity.

但要強調的是,我並不是說所有美國公司表現的比以往差,事實上,反而是比以前還
要好一點,只是最低門檻比以前提高了許多,而遺憾的是,大部分的企業對此皆束手
無策,只能祈求門檻能夠大幅降低,極少有產業能為股東賺取高投資報酬的。

Inflationary experience and expectations will be major (but not the
only) factors affecting the height of the crossbar in future years. If the
causes of long-term inflation can be tempered, passive returns are likely to
fall and the intrinsic position of American equity capital should significantly
improve. Many businesses that now must be classified as economically
“bad” would be restored to the “good” category under such circumstances.

過去的通膨經驗與對未來通膨的預期將會是影響未來通膨指數的最主要(但非惟一)因
素,如果長期性通膨的形成原因能有效被抑制,則門檻自然會降低,美國企業的存在
價值將因此大幅改善,原本被歸類為不良的企業也能轉為優良的企業。

A further, particularly ironic, punishment is inflicted by an inflationary
environment upon the owners of the “bad” business. To continue
operating in its present mode, such a low-return business usually must
retain much of its earnings - no matter what penalty such a policy produces
for shareholders.

而通貨膨脹對於體質不佳的企業來說,更是雪上加霜,為了要維持既有的營業規模,
這類低投資報酬率的公司往往必須保留住大部分的盈餘,不管對於股東的權益有多大
的損害也莫可奈何。

Reason, of course, would prescribe just the opposite policy. An
individual, stuck with a 5% bond with many years to run before maturity,
does not take the coupons from that bond and pay one hundred cents on
the dollar for more 5% bonds while similar bonds are available at, say, forty
cents on the dollar. Instead, he takes those coupons from his low-return
bond and - if inclined to reinvest - looks for the highest return with safety
currently available. Good money is not thrown after bad.

當然理智會導引人們採取不同的方法,以一個個人套牢在殖利率5%的債券來說,就不
可能將好不容易拿回的5%利息,以票面價格重新投入到原有的債券,因為類似的債券
在市場上可能以四折的價格就能買到,而通常的情況下,如果果真要投資,他應該會
再尋找更好的投資標的,良幣是不會追逐劣幣的。

What makes sense for the bondholder makes sense for the
shareholder. Logically, a company with historic and prospective high
returns on equity should retain much or all of its earnings so that
shareholders can earn premium returns on enhanced capital. Conversely,
low returns on corporate equity would suggest a very high dividend payout
so that owners could direct capital toward more attractive areas. (The
Scriptures concur. In the parable of the talents, the two high-earning
servants are rewarded with 100% retention of earnings and encouraged to
expand their operations. However, the non-earning third servant is not
only chastised - “wicked and slothful” - but also is required to redirect all
of his capital to the top performer. Matthew 25: 14-30)

這種債券投資的道理也適用於股票投資之上,理論上如果說這家公司報酬率相對較
高,那麼把盈餘留在公司繼續投資下去,但若這家公司報酬率差,那麼為何不把賺的
盈餘分配給股東,讓股東自己去尋找其他報酬率較高投資機會呢??(古經文亦贊同:有個
三個僕人的寓言,老天爺讓其中二個會賺錢的僕人,保留他們所賺的錢並鼓勵他們擴
大營業,而另外一個懶惰不會賺錢的僕人,則被嚴厲得逞罰並叫他把錢交給前面二個
僕人管理/馬修第25章。

But inflation takes us through the looking glass into the upside-down
world of Alice in Wonderland. When prices continuously rise, the “bad”
business must retain every nickel that it can. Not because it is attractive as
a repository for equity capital, but precisely because it is so unattractive,
the low-return business must follow a high retention policy. If it wishes to
continue operating in the future as it has in the past - and most entities,
including businesses, do - it simply has no choice.

但通膨就像叫我們透過窺鏡看愛麗絲夢遊仙境一樣,當通膨恃虐時,體質不良的企業
被迫保留它所有的每一分錢,才能辛苦地維持過去擁有的生產能力,這實在是情非得
已。

For inflation acts as a gigantic corporate tapeworm. That tapeworm
preemptively consumes its requisite daily diet of investment dollars
regardless of the health of the host organism. Whatever the level of
reported profits (even if nil), more dollars for receivables, inventory and
fixed assets are continuously required by the business in order to merely
match the unit volume of the previous year. The less prosperous the
enterprise, the greater the proportion of available sustenance claimed by
the tapeworm.

通膨就像是寄生在企業體內巨大的條蟲,不管被它寄生的主人身體狀況如何,還是拼
命的從他身上吸取養份,所以不管公司的獲利到底有多少(就算沒有也一樣),帳上總
是會有越來越多的應收帳款、存貨與固定資產以維持以往的營運規模,主人的身體越
差,就表示有越多比例的養份被寄生蟲吸走。

Under present conditions, a business earning 8% or 10% on equity
often has no leftovers for expansion, debt reduction or “real” dividends.
The tapeworm of inflation simply cleans the plate. (The low-return
company’s inability to pay dividends, understandably, is often disguised.
Corporate America increasingly is turning to dividend reinvestment plans,
sometimes even embodying a discount arrangement that all but forces
shareholders to reinvest. Other companies sell newly issued shares to
Peter in order to pay dividends to Paul. Beware of “dividends” that can be
paid out only if someone promises to replace the capital distributed.)

以目前的情況來說,一家公司若只賺到8% 或10% 利潤的話,根本不夠拿來用於擴
張、還債或發放實在的股利,通膨這條寄生蟲早就把盤子清光光了,(而事實上,通常
美國企業會利用許多方法將無法發放股利的窘境掩飾住,例如常常提出盈餘轉投資計
劃,強迫股東再投資,或是發行新股,拿張三的錢發放給李四,要小心這種必須要另
外找到金主才能發放的股利)。

Berkshire continues to retain its earnings for offensive, not defensive
or obligatory, reasons. But in no way are we immune from the pressures
that escalating passive returns exert on equity capital. We continue to
clear the crossbar of after-tax passive return - but barely. Our historic
21% return - not at all assured for the future - still provides, after the
current capital gain tax rate (which we expect to rise considerably in future
years), a modest margin over current after-tax rates on passive money. It
would be a bit humiliating to have our corporate value-added turn negative.
But it can happen here as it has elsewhere, either from events outside
anyone’s control or from poor relative adaptation on our part.

反觀Berkshire通常會因積極而非被動的理由而保留盈餘再投資,當然我們也不能免
除前述通膨的威脅,我們歷史累計的報酬率21%扣除潛在的資本利得稅後,持續地跨
過那最低的門檻,但也只能算是低空掠過,只要在出一些差錯,便可能使我們面臨讓
股東創造負價值的窘境。這種情況不能保證完全不會發生,有可能是外在不可控因素,
也有可能是我們自己內部的因素。

Sources of Reported Earnings

盈餘報告

The table below shows the sources of Berkshire’s reported earnings.
Berkshire owns about 60% of Blue Chip Stamps which, in turn, owns 80% of
Wesco Financial Corporation. The table displays aggregate operating
earnings of the various business entities, as well as Berkshire’s share of
those earnings. All of the significant gains and losses attributable to
unusual sales of assets by any of the business entities are aggregated with
securities transactions in the line near the bottom of the table and are not
included in operating earnings.

下表顯示Berkshire依照各個公司持股比例來列示帳面盈餘的主要來源,而各個公司
資本利得損失並不包含在內而是彙總於下表最後「已實現出售證券利得」一欄,雖然
本表列示的方式與一般公認會計原則不儘相同但最後的損益數字卻是一致的: 其中
Berkshire擁有Blue Chips Stamps 60%的股權,而後者又擁有 Wesco 財務公司
80% 的股權。

Net Earnings

Earnings Before Income Taxes After Tax

-------------------------------- ------------------

Total Berkshire Share Berkshire Share

--------------- ---------------- ------------------

1981 1980 1981 1980 1981 1980

-------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------

(000s omitted)

Operating Earnings:

Insurance Group:

Underwriting ............ $ 1,478 $ 6,738 $ 1,478 $ 6,737 $ 798 $ 3,637

Net Investment Income ... 38,823 30,939 38,823 30,927 32,401 25,607

Berkshire-Waumbec Textiles (2,669) (508) (2,669) (508) (1,493) 202

Associated Retail Stores .. 1,763 2,440 1,763 2,440 759 1,169

See’s Candies ............. 21,891 15,475 13,046 9,223 6,289 4,459

Buffalo Evening News ...... (1,057) (2,777) (630) (1,655) (276) (800)

Blue Chip Stamps - Parent 3,642 7,699 2,171 4,588 2,134 3,060

Wesco Financial - Parent .. 4,495 2,916 2,145 1,392 1,590 1,044

Mutual Savings and Loan ... 1,605 5,814 766 2,775 1,536 1,974

Precision Steel ........... 3,453 2,833 1,648 1,352 841 656

Interest on Debt .......... (14,656) (12,230) (12,649) (9,390) (6,671) (4,809)

Other* .................... 1,895 1,698 1,344 1,308 1,513 992

-------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------

Sub-total - Continuing

Operations ............. $ 60,663 $ 61,037 $ 47,236 $ 49,189 $ 39,421 $ 37,191

Illinois National Bank** .. -- 5,324 -- 5,200 -- 4,731

-------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------

Operating Earnings .......... 60,663 66,361 47,236 54,389 39,421 41,922

Sales of securities and

unusual sales of assets .. 37,801 19,584 33,150 15,757 23,183 11,200

-------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------

Total Earnings - all entities $ 98,464 $ 85,945 $ 80,386 $ 70,146 $ 62,604 $ 53,122

===== ====== ====== ====== ====== ======

*Amortization of intangibles arising in accounting for

purchases of businesses (i.e. See’s, Mutual and Buffalo

Evening News) is reflected in the category designated as

“Other”.

**Berkshire divested itself of its ownership of the Illinois

National Bank on December 31, 1980.

*1 包含購併企業商譽的攤銷(如See's Candies; Mutual; Buffalio Evening News等)
*2 Illinois National Bank 已於1980.12.31 從Berkshire脫離出去

Blue Chip Stamps and Wesco are public companies with reporting
requirements of their own. On pages 38-50 of this report we have
reproduced the narrative reports of the principal executives of both
companies, in which they describe 1981 operations. A copy of the full
annual report of either company will be mailed to any Berkshire shareholder
upon request to Mr. Robert H. Bird for Blue Chip Stamps, 5801 South
Eastern Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90040, or to Mrs. Jeanne Leach for
Wesco Financial Corporation, 315 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena,
California 91109.

Blue Chip 及Wesco 兩家公司因為本身是公開發行公司以規定編有自己的年報,我
建議大家仔細閱讀。若有需要Berkshire的股東可向Mr. Robert(地址:加州洛杉磯
5801 South Eastern Avenue)索取藍籌郵票的年報或向Mrs. Bette(地址:加州
Pasadena 315 East Colorado Boulevard)索取Wesco的年報。

As we indicated earlier, undistributed earnings in companies we do not
control are now fully as important as the reported operating earnings
detailed in the preceding table. The distributed portion of earnings, of
course, finds its way into the table primarily through the net investment
income segment of Insurance Group earnings.

就像先前我們所提到的,不具控制權的股權投資其已分配的盈餘已列示於保險事業的
投資收益之中,但未分配盈餘佔本公司的重要性已不下於前面表列的帳面盈餘。

We show below Berkshire’s proportional holdings in those
non-controlled businesses for which only distributed earnings (dividends)
are included in our earnings.

下表列示的是那些我們不具控制權的股權投資的持股:

No. of Shares Cost Market

------------- ---------- ----------

(000s omitted)

451,650 (a) Affiliated Publications, Inc. ........ $ 3,297 $ 14,114

703,634 (a) Aluminum Company of America .......... 19,359 18,031

420,441 (a) Arcata Corporation

(including common equivalents) ..... 14,076 15,136

475,217 (b) Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company ........ 12,942 14,362

441,522 (a) GATX Corporation ..................... 17,147 13,466

2,101,244 (b) General Foods, Inc. .................. 66,277 66,714

7,200,000 (a) GEICO Corporation .................... 47,138 199,800

2,015,000 (a) Handy & Harman ....................... 21,825 36,270

711,180 (a) Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. 4,531 23,202

282,500 (a) Media General ........................ 4,545 11,088

391,400 (a) Ogilvy & Mather International Inc. ... 3,709 12,329

370,088 (b) Pinkerton’s, Inc. .................... 12,144 19,675

1,764,824 (b) R. J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. ...... 76,668 83,127

785,225 (b) SAFECO Corporation ................... 21,329 31,016

1,868,600 (a) The Washington Post Company .......... 10,628 58,160

---------- ----------

$335,615 $616,490

All Other Common Stockholdings ...................... 16,131 22,739

---------- ----------

Total Common Stocks ................................. $351,746 $639,229

========== ==========

(a) All owned by Berkshire or its insurance subsidiaries.

(b) Blue Chip and/or Wesco own shares of these companies. All

numbers represent Berkshire’s net interest in the larger

gross holdings of the group.

(a) 代表全部股權由Berkshire及其子公司所持有
(b) 代表由Berkshire子公司Blue Chip與Wesco 所持有,依Berkshire持股比例換算得來。


Our controlled and non-controlled businesses operate over such a
wide spectrum of activities that detailed commentary here would prove too
lengthy. Much additional financial information is included in
Management’s Discussion on pages 34-37 and in the narrative reports on
pages 38-50. However, our largest area of both controlled and
non-controlled activity has been, and almost certainly will continue to be,
the property-casualty insurance area, and commentary on important
developments in that industry is appropriate.

由於我們具控制權與不具控制權的企業經營遍佈各行各業,所以恕我無法在此贅述,
但無論如何,集團的重點一定是擺在產險/意外險之上,所以有必要對其產業未來發展
加以說明。

Insurance Industry Conditions

保險產業現況

“Forecasts”, said Sam Goldwyn, “are dangerous, particularly those
about the future.” (Berkshire shareholders may have reached a similar
conclusion after rereading our past annual reports featuring your
Chairman’s prescient analysis of textile prospects.)

「預測」如同媒體傳播巨擘米高梅創辦人Sam Goldwyn所說的是相當危險的,「尤其
是關於對未來的預測」,(如果Berkshire的股東在過去的年報中讀到本人對紡織業未
來的分析後,可能也會深有同感)。

There is no danger, however, in forecasting that 1982 will be the worst
year in recent history for insurance underwriting. That result already has
been guaranteed by present pricing behavior, coupled with the term nature
of the insurance contract.

但若是有人要預測1982年的保險業核保結果可能會很慘,那就不會有什麼好怕的
了,因為情勢已經由目前同業的殺價行為加上保險契約先天的性質獲得了印證。

While many auto policies are priced and sold at six-month intervals -
and many property policies are sold for a three-year term - a weighted
average of the duration of all property-casualty insurance policies probably
runs a little under twelve months. And prices for the insurance coverage,
of course, are frozen for the life of the contract. Thus, this year’s sales
contracts (“premium written” in the parlance of the industry) determine
about one-half of next year’s level of revenue (“premiums earned”). The
remaining half will be determined by sales contracts written next year that
will be about 50% earned in that year. The profitability consequences are
automatic: if you make a mistake in pricing, you have to live with it for an
uncomfortable period of time.

當許多汽車保險保單以六個月為期來訂價並發售,而其他產物意外保險則以三年為
期,所以意外保險保單流通的期間平均略低於十二個月,當然價格在保險合約的期間
內是固定的,因此今年銷售的合約(業內的說法,稱之為保費收入)決定了明年保費收
入水準的半數,至於另外一半則由明年簽下的保險契約來決定,因此獲利的情況自然
而然會遞延,也就是說若你在訂價上犯了錯誤,那你所受的痛苦可能會持續一陣子。

Note in the table below the year-over-year gain in industry-wide
premiums written and the impact that it has on the current and following
year’s level of underwriting profitability. The result is exactly as you would
expect in an inflationary world. When the volume gain is well up in double
digits, it bodes well for profitability trends in the current and following year.
When the industry volume gain is small, underwriting experience very
shortly will get worse, no matter how unsatisfactory the current level.

注意下表所列為每年保費收入成長率以及其對當年與隔年度獲利的影響,而結果正如
同你在通膨高漲時所預期的一樣,當保費收入以二位數成長,則當年與隔年的獲利數
字就會很好看,但若保費收入僅能以個位數成長,則表示核保結果就會變得很差。

The Best’s data in the table reflect the experience of practically the
entire industry, including stock, mutual and reciprocal companies. The
combined ratio indicates total operating and loss costs as compared to
premiums; a ratio below 100 indicates an underwriting profit, and one
above 100 indicates a loss.

下表反映一般同業所面臨的情勢,綜合比率表示所有營運成本加上理賠損失佔保費收
入的比率,百分之一百以下表示有承保利益,反之則表示有損失:

Yearly Change Yearly Change Combined Ratio

in Premium in Premium after Policy-

Written (%) Earned (%) holder Dividends

------------- ------------- ----------------

1972 ............... 10.2 10.9 96.2

1973 ............... 8.0 8.8 99.2

1974 ............... 6.2 6.9 105.4

1975 ............... 11.0 9.6 107.9

1976 ............... 21.9 19.4 102.4

1977 ............... 19.8 20.5 97.2

1978 ............... 12.8 14.3 97.5

1979 ............... 10.3 10.4 100.6

1980 ............... 6.0 7.8 103.1

1981 ............... 3.6 4.1 105.7

Source: Best’s Aggregates and Averages.

As Pogo would say, “The future isn’t what it used to be.” Current
pricing practices promise devastating results, particularly if the respite from
major natural disasters that the industry has enjoyed in recent years should
end. For underwriting experience has been getting worse in spite of good
luck, not because of bad luck. In recent years hurricanes have stayed at
sea and motorists have reduced their driving. They won’t always be so
obliging.

誠如Pogo 所說:「未來絕對不會和過去相同」。現在的訂價習慣已註定日後悲慘的結
果,尤其若因近幾年無重大災難所和得的喘息機會結束時。保險承保的情況會因大家
運氣好(而非運氣壞)而變差,近幾年來颶風大多僅停留在海上,同時摩托車騎士較少
在路上跑,但他們不會永遠都那麼守規矩。

And, of course the twin inflations, monetary and “social” (the tendency
of courts and juries to stretch the coverage of policies beyond what insurers,
relying upon contract terminology and precedent, had expected), are
unstoppable. Costs of repairing both property and people - and the extent
to which these repairs are deemed to be the responsibility of the insurer -
will advance relentlessly.

當然貨幣與社會(法院與陪審團對保險投保範圍認定超越合約與判例的擴張)的雙重通
貨膨脹是無法抵檔的,財產的修補與人身的醫療等這些被視為保險公司的當然責任,
所引發的成本將會無止盡的擴張。

Absent any bad luck (catastrophes, increased driving, etc.), an
immediate industry volume gain of at least 10% per year probably is
necessary to stabilize the record level of underwriting losses that will
automatically prevail in mid-1982. (Most underwriters expect incurred
losses in aggregate to rise at least 10% annually; each, of course, counts on
getting less than his share.) Every percentage point of annual premium
growth below the 10% equilibrium figure quickens the pace of deterioration.
Quarterly data in 1981 underscore the conclusion that a terrible
underwriting picture is worsening at an accelerating rate.

若沒遇上什麼倒霉事(如大災難或駕駛行為增加等)同業保費收入平均至少要增加十個
百分點才能使1982年的承銷比率不會再惡化(大部份同業估計承擔損失每年以十個
百分點成長,當然大家都期望自己公司成長較少)。每個保費收入成長的百分點都會加
速影響到核保成績惡化的程度,1981年按季的核保成績低估了惡化的速度。

In the 1980 annual report we discussed the investment policies that
have destroyed the integrity of many insurers’ balance sheets, forcing them
to abandon underwriting discipline and write business at any price in order
to avoid negative cash flow. It was clear that insurers with large holdings
of bonds valued, for accounting purposes, at nonsensically high prices
would have little choice but to keep the money revolving by selling large
numbers of policies at nonsensically low prices. Such insurers necessarily
fear a major decrease in volume more than they fear a major underwriting
loss.

去年年報我們曾經提到許多保險公司因投資不當使得其公司財務變得很不健全,迫使
他們放棄原有承保原則,不惜以低價承接保單以維持既有流動性。很明顯的帳上持有
不合理高估的債券的同業,為了現金週轉而以明顯不合理的低價大量賣出保單,他們
害怕保單收入的減少更甚於核保所可能增加的損失。

But, unfortunately, all insurers are affected; it’s difficult to price much
differently than your most threatened competitor. This pressure continues
unabated and adds a new motivation to the others that drive many
insurance managers to push for business; worship of size over profitability,
and the fear that market share surrendered never can be regained.

然而不幸的是所有的同業皆因此受波及,因為你的價格不可能與競爭同業差得太遠,
這種壓力未曾稍減,並迫使愈來愈多的同業跟進,盲目追求量的成長而非質的增加,
同時又害怕失去的市場佔有率永遠無法回復。

Whatever the reasons, we believe it is true that virtually no major
property-casualty insurer - despite protests by the entire industry that
rates are inadequate and great selectivity should be exercised - has been
willing to turn down business to the point where cash flow has turned
significantly negative. Absent such a willingness, prices will remain under
severe pressure.

即使大家一致認同費率極不合理,我們認為沒有一家保險業者,能夠承受現金極度流
出的情況下不接任何保單,而只要這種心態存在,則保單價格將持續面臨調降壓力。

Commentators continue to talk of the underwriting cycle, usually
implying a regularity of rhythm and a relatively constant midpoint of
profitability Our own view is different. We believe that very large, although
obviously varying, underwriting losses will be the norm for the industry,
and that the best underwriting years in the future decade may appear
substandard against the average year of the past decade.

對於專家一再認定保險產業的循環具規則性且長期而言核保損益接近兩平,我們則抱
持不同的看法,我們相信核保面臨鉅額損失(雖然程度不一)將成為保險業界的常態,
未來十年內最好的表現在以往僅能算得上是普通而已。

We have no magic formula to insulate our controlled insurance
companies against this deteriorating future. Our managers, particularly
Phil Liesche, Bill Lyons, Roland Miller, Floyd Taylor and Milt Thornton, have
done a magnificent job of swimming against the tide. We have sacrificed
much volume, but have maintained a substantial underwriting superiority in
relation to industry-wide results. The outlook at Berkshire is for continued
low volume. Our financial position offers us maximum flexibility, a very
rare condition in the property-casualty insurance industry. And, at some
point, should fear ever prevail throughout the industry, our financial
strength could become an operational asset of immense value.

雖然面臨持續惡化的未來,Berkshire的保險事業並無任何良方,但我們經營階層確
已儘力力爭上游,雖然核保保單數量減少了,但核保損益相較於同業仍顯優越。展望
未來,Berkshire將維持低保單的現狀,我們的財務實力使我們能保持最大的彈性,
這在同業間並不多見。而將來總有一天,當同業保單接到怕之時,Berkshire財務實
力將成為營運發展最有利的後盾。

We believe that GEICO Corporation, our major non-controlled business
operating in this field, is, by virtue of its extreme and improving operating
efficiency, in a considerably more protected position than almost any other
major insurer. GEICO is a brilliantly run implementation of a very
important business idea.

其中我們不具控制權的主要股權投資的GEICO更是個中翹楚,它的營運績效日起有
功,比起其他同業的情況要好的許多,它堪稱企業理念的最佳實踐典範。

Shareholder Designated Contributions

股東指定捐贈計畫

Our new program enabling shareholders to designate the recipients of
corporate charitable contributions was greeted with extraordinary
enthusiasm. A copy of the letter sent October 14, 1981 describing this
program appears on pages 51-53. Of 932,206 shares eligible for
participation (shares where the name of the actual owner appeared on our
stockholder record), 95.6% responded. Even excluding Buffet-related
shares, the response topped 90%.

我們讓使得所有股東皆能指定其個別捐贈單位的新計劃受到廣大回響,在932,206
張有效股份中(即在本公司股份係由本人登記者),有95.6%回復,而在即使不包含本
人股份的情況下,也有超過90%的成績。

In addition, more than 3% of our shareholders voluntarily wrote letters
or notes, all but one approving of the program. Both the level of
participation and of commentary surpass any shareholder response we have
witnessed, even when such response has been intensively solicited by
corporate staff and highly paid professional proxy organizations. In
contrast, your extraordinary level of response occurred without even the
nudge of a company-provided return envelope. This self-propelled
behavior speaks well for the program, and speaks well for our shareholders.

此外有3%的股東主動寫信來支持本計劃,而股東參與的熱烈與提供的意見,也是我們
前所未見,這種自動自發的態度說明了本計劃成功與否,也可看出Berkshire股東的
天性。

Apparently the owners of our corporation like both possessing and
exercising the ability to determine where gifts of their funds shall be made.
The “father-knows-best” school of corporate governance will be surprised
to find that none of our shareholders sent in a designation sheet with
instructions that the officers of Berkshire - in their superior wisdom, of
course - make the decision on charitable funds applicable to his shares.
Nor did anyone suggest that his share of our charitable funds be used to
match contributions made by our corporate directors to charities of the
directors’ choice (a popular, proliferating and non-publicized policy at
many large corporations).

很明顯的,他們不但希望能擁有且能自由掌控其所欲捐贈金錢的去向,教授父權式的
管理學院可能會驚訝的發現,沒有一位股東表示希望由Berkshire的經營階層來幫他
們作決定或是依董監事捐贈比例行事 (這是目前一般美國大企業普遍的作法)。

All told, $1,783,655 of shareholder-designed contributions were
distributed to about 675 charities. In addition, Berkshire and subsidiaries
continue to make certain contributions pursuant to local level decisions
made by our operating managers.

除了由Berkshire及其子公司經營階層決定的捐獻外,總計1,783,655美元的股東指
定捐贈款共分配給675個慈善機關團體。除此之外,Berkshire以及其子公司仍將繼
續其以往由其經理人決定的捐贈慣例。

There will be some years, perhaps two or three out of ten, when
contributions by Berkshire will produce substandard tax deductions - or
none at all. In those years we will not effect our shareholder designated
charitable program. In all other years we expect to inform you about
October 10th of the amount per share that you may designate. A reply
form will accompany the notice, and you will be given about three weeks to
respond with your designation. To qualify, your shares must be registered
in your own name or the name of an owning trust, corporation, partnership
or estate, if applicable, on our stockholder list of September 30th, or the
Friday preceding if such date falls on a Saturday or Sunday.

往後幾年Berkshire將會因這項捐款計劃獲得些許的稅負抵減,而每年10月10日以
前,我們將會通知股東每股可捐贈的金額,你有三個禮拜的時間可以作決定,為免喪
失資格,股份須確實由你本人名義登記。

Our only disappointment with this program in 1981 was that some of
our shareholders, through no fault of their own, missed the opportunity to
participate. The Treasury Department ruling allowing us to proceed
without tax uncertainty was received early in October. The ruling did not
cover participation by shareholders whose stock was registered in the name
of nominees, such as brokers, and additionally required that the owners of
all designating shares make certain assurances to Berkshire. These
assurances could not be given us in effective form by nominee holders.

對於去年這項計劃我們惟一感到遺憾的是,有些股東雖然不是因為本身的錯誤,而無
法參加,由於稅務單位的解釋令於10月初才下來,並規定股份若由代理人或經紀人
名義登記者不適用。

Under these circumstances, we attempted to communicate with all of
our owners promptly (via the October 14th letter) so that, if they wished,
they could prepare themselves to participate by the November 13th record
date. It was particularly important that this information be communicated
promptly to stockholders whose holdings were in nominee name, since they
would not be eligible unless they took action to re-register their shares
before the record date.

在這樣的情況下,我們試著與所有的股東立即連絡(透過10月14號的那封信),好讓
他們有機會可以趕上11月13號的過戶截止日,這對那些非以自己名義持有股份的股
東來說尤其重要,因為如非他們及時採取正名的動作,否則將因此喪失應享的權利。

Unfortunately, communication to such non-record shareholders could
take place only through the nominees. We therefore strongly urged those
nominees, mostly brokerage houses, to promptly transmit our letter to the
real owners. We explained that their failure to do so could deprive such
owners of an important benefit.

由於時間緊迫,再加上聯絡前述股東仍須透過其代理人,使得部份股東沒能參加,在
此我們強烈呼籲那些股票經紀人儘速通知其客戶,以免股東的權利被剝奪。

The results from our urgings would not strengthen the case for private
ownership of the U.S. Postal Service. Many of our shareholders never heard
from their brokers (as some shareholders told us after reading news
accounts of the program). Others were forwarded our letter too late for
action.

我們再三敦促的結果並無法讓美國郵政加強,很多我們股東的營業員從來就沒有告訴
其客戶這件消息(有許多股東表示他們是在看到了相關新聞才知道這項計畫),有的則
是在過期後才拿到相關通知。

One of the largest brokerage houses claiming to hold stock for sixty of
its clients (about 4% of our shareholder population), apparently transmitted
our letter about three weeks after receipt - too late for any of the sixty to
participate. (Such lassitude did not pervade all departments of that firm; it
billed Berkshire for mailing services within six days of that belated and
ineffectual action.)

其中有家證券經紀商代表60位股東(約佔4%強股權)很明顯地在接到郵件三個禮拜
後,才將之轉到客戶的手上。諷刺的是,該公司並非所有部門皆如此懶散,轉寄郵件
的帳單在六天內就送到Berkshire公司。

We recite such horror stories for two reasons: (1) if you wish to
participate in future designated contribution programs, be sure to have
your stock registered in your name well before September 30th; and (2)
even if you don’t care to participate and prefer to leave your stock in
nominee form, it would be wise to have at least one share registered in your
own name. By so doing, you can be sure that you will be notified of any
important corporate news at the same time as all other shareholders.

我們之所以告訴大家這件事有兩個理由(1)若你希望參加這項股東指定捐贈計劃的
話,請務必將你的股份在九月底以前改登記在自己的名下(2)就算你不想參加,最好還
是至少將一股登記在自己的名下,如此才能確保你與其他股東一樣在第一時間知道有
關公司的重大消息。

The designated-contributions idea, along with many other ideas that
have turned out well for us, was conceived by Charlie Munger, Vice
Chairman of Berkshire and Chairman of Blue Chip. Irrespective of titles,
Charlie and I work as partners in managing all controlled companies. To
almost a sinful degree, we enjoy our work as managing partners. And we
enjoy having you as our financial partners.

最後包含這項股東指定捐贈計劃在內的許多很好的idea,都是由Berkshire公司的副
董事長兼Blue Chip的董事長Charlie Minger所構思,不管職稱為何,Charlie 跟
我皆以執行合夥人的心態管理所有事業,而各位股東就像是我們一般的合夥人一樣。

Warren E. Buffett
Chairman of the Board

華倫.巴菲特
董事會主席
創作者介紹

市場求生手冊

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